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How would you like to conserve water and save money at the same time? That is inevitably what happens when you conserve water anyway, but I’d like for you to think big picture here. Think dual flush kit! Okay… that’s merely a piece in the puzzle of the big picture.
A slight change in something you do several times a day (flushing a toilet) will do the trick.
How could that be?
What Is A Dual Flush Kit?
A dual flush kit is an aftermarket plumbing device that once installed on your old, two-piece toilet (pre-1994), gives you two flush options. One flush option uses a little bit of water (approx. 1.3 gpf) to flush liquids. The second option allows for a regular flush for solids with a slight reduction in water volume depending on the dual flush kit you install.
If you install (retrofit) a dual flush kit on your existing toilet at home you will save approximately $100 per year while conserving 30% – 50% of your water consumption, depending on your brand and type of toilet. That’s a pretty decent savings of $$$ and H2O. And to top it off, a dual flush kit will pay for itself within the first year of use… easily. It’s a win-win situation.
Water conservation was mentioned as one of seven hot topics for green home builders this year (and for the foreseeable future, as far as I’m concerned) as noted in the 7 Green Trends for 2010 article in EcoHome e-zine.
Preston Koerner, LEED Accredited Professional (AP) and founder of green building website Jetson Green, made note of one particular water-conserving product (Brondell’s Simple Flush) because it’s easy to install and the water savings potential.
Think Globally… Act Locally
That phrase sounds dated but it works in this case. I thought a dual flush kit sounded like a pretty simple way to conserve water use on a personal level, so I looked into Simple Flush and thought that it would be only fair to look into a few other brands to see how Brondell’s dual flush kit stacks up against the competition.
I’m 100% positive that there are many other dual flush kits being sold on the market today but I’ll concentrate on these four models.
I’ll save a little time and tell you that all of these dual flush kits claim to conserve approximately 40% of the water you will use after installation and need to be installed on two-piece toilets. Think for a minute how much drinkable water we’re currently flushing down the toilet every day as a nation and how much could be saved. Here’s a video to illustrate just how much water we’re wasting:
See what I’m talking about?
Buy A Dual Flush Kit Or A WaterSense Labeled High-Efficiency Toilet (HET)?
So, you’ve got a couple of choices:
- Install either a dual flush kit in your current toilet(s), assuming they were made prior to 1994 and use a whopping 3.5 to 5+ gallons per flush (gpf).
- Or buy a WaterSense labeled high-efficiency toilet (HET) that uses a mere 1.3 gpf.
Note: There are all sorts of HET models listed including dual flush models.
We’ve got 2 toilets in our home that were made in 1987.
If I use the WaterSense water calculator to see how much water we could be saving in a year (4 persons in household) if we used WaterSense labeled toilets, it comes out to roughly 16,000 gallons in a year or about a hundred bucks. That’s a pretty convincing argument to make a switch to either a HET or retro-fitting your existing toilets with a dual flush kit!
Dual Flush Kit Cost vs HET
A dual flush kit will run you anywhere from $40 to $90 (including S&H), depending on which kit you purchase.
A dual flush toilet will cost anywhere from $300 to $500, plus installation.
You could probably find a HET for less than that, with the possibility of receiving a rebate from your local municipality. Check your city and/or county’s website for details. A new HET could offer you the same amount water conservation as a dual flush kit at, or around, the same cost as the kit, if you find a deal on a HET with a rebate.
Dual Flush Kit Comparisons
1. Brondell Simple Flush (formerly Perfect Flush)
- Cost: $79 plus S&H
- Fits nearly all residential flapper-type toilets with any size flapper, most ball-float fill valves. It’s not compatible with flapper-less flush valves or pressure assist systems. Most adaptable brand of the four models I mention here.
- It doesn’t matter where your handle is located.
- Sleek design.
- Maker states that it takes about 30 minute for a DIY installation.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Simple Flush boasts some pretty hefty endorsements:
- Popular Science – 12 Must-Have Products
- Good Housekeeping – Top 10 VIP (Very Innovative Products) Product for 2010
- Yahoo Green – Top 10 Gifts to Save Money and the Planet
- Good Morning America
- Cost: $29.95 (1) or $99.50 (4) plus S&H.
- Developed by a LEED AP.
- Made In USA (Michigan).
- About 30 minutes to install.
- Does not fit toilets with handles on the corner or side. Handle must be on the front.
- Cost: $37.95 plus S&H.
- Made with recycled materials.
- Rigorously tested by IAPMO certification process to last at least 250,000 flushes.
- Fits toilets with handles on the angled corner, or sides (left or right).
- About 30 minutes to install.
- Cost: $39.99 plus S&H.
- About 1 hour to install.
- Toilet must have handle on left-front and toilet front must be flat – not rounded.
- About 1 hour to install.
- States will save approximately 27% of water vs. no installation. That’s not a good percentage, comparatively speaking.
I’ll leave you to decide which is best for you. I have my top 2 choices in mind.
More Great Resources:
photos courtesy Brondell
I started as a home-stalker… visiting brand new homes under construction in the neighborhoods near my house. That inspired me to write about home building and home renovation projects — chronicling homes during different phases of construction from a consumer's point-of-view. Basically, the tips you'll find in my articles are a collection of checklists for what I think should (and should not) go into building or remodeling a quality home.